Saturday, September 10, 2011

How Laura Marling broke Charlie Fink's heart, and other stories

When I first heard 'Blue Skies' on PseudoRandom's blog, I had no idea that this was one of the few uplifting songs in an album about a breakup. I listened to that live version a million times, fell in love with it, but didn't do much follow up with the band. I didn't even discover 5 Years Time, their big hit from the debut album. Oh the shame.

That first album, that big hit, has backing vocals by Laura Marling, whose own debut album was produced by Charlie. A great load has been written about their break up, but nothing more powerful than their second album, "The First Days of Spring". An album written and recorded when the pain of heartbreak was so raw, that Charlie apparently broke down the first time he heard the album in full.

Two years after the release of TFDoS, Noah and the Whale are back with "Last Night on Earth". I first heard "Life is Life", but didn't like it much. But then I heard L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N., a song that reminded me of Get Back by the Beatles and Oh! Sweet Nuthin' by the Velvet Underground, and I so began the listening on loop.

And then, I listened to a couple of more songs and decided to download the entire album, something I seldom do. But ukulele fans be warned, Noah explores new sound in this record, and electronic music does creep in. But it has been used with discretion, and class. Seriously, this record is awesome. Favourites include "Tonight's the Kind of Night", "Give It All Back" and "Waiting for My Chance to Come". But my pick of the lot? This absolute beauty:

Well I've always had a wild imagination,
And a see-through heart,
Which I know can be, a wild combination,
Like a flame forms from a spark,
But don't be shy, be brave little champion,
It's better to live than to hide...